The Archbishop of Wales, The Most Reverend John Davies, has visited Hen Eglwys our new development of homes in Newport that were built on the site of a former Church.

The homes, which have been built as part of the Faith in Affordable Housing (FiAH) project, are a result of our partnership with Housing Justice Cymru and the Church in Wales that has seen surplus Church in Wales land being utilised for affordable housing.

FiAH is managed by Housing Justice Cymru and was set up to encourage churches of all denominations to release land and buildings for affordable housing, so that the Church can give something back to the community rather than selling land and property on the open market.

Sharon Lee, Director of Housing Justice Cymru said:

“This fantastic development will provide affordable rented homes for generations to come, and is a fitting legacy for the former church. It shows what can be achieved through partnership that focuses on the needs of the community.”

The 14 new homes on the site of the former St Matthew’s Church in Maindee consist of 1and 2 bedroom apartments specifically for people aged over 55. Each new home has a level access shower room and either a patio area or balcony to provide residents with their own external recreational space. The new building also benefits from solar panels fitted to the roof which are linked to the communal landlord’s electrical supply. This allows communal utility costs to be reduced, resulting in lower service charges for residents.

Sarah Hodges, Pobl’s Project Manager for the development said:

“We are pleased to have been able to work with key partners – FiAH, Welsh Government, Newport City Council and the project team to create these wonderful new apartments. St Matthews Church had been an important part of the fabric of the Maindee community for 125 years. It was not possible to save the building but the design of the apartments seeks to respect the size and massing of the Church.

The Hen Eglwys development is a great example of how collaborative working with other like-minded organisations helps us to deliver much needed affordable housing and supports the regeneration of local communities.”

Archbishop of Wales, The Most Reverend John Davies, is Chair of Housing Justice Cymru and was once the Parish Vicar at St Matthews so knows the community well, he said:

“There can come a time, a sad time, when a place of worship that has been much loved over the years, comes to the end of its viable life. It becomes a liability rather than being an asset. The least attractive option for that building is that it closes and becomes a ruin – a poor advertisement for any community. There are occasions when such a building can be re-ordered and adapted for community or residential use. There are others when the clearance of the site and the construction of new facilities is the more feasible option. For St Matthew’s, that was the way forward, and I’m delighted to be able to commend those who took difficult decisions for their courage and vision to engage in such a fruitful project.”

 

The new homes in Newport build upon other successful schemes enabled by FiAH in recent years. We have a number of FiAH partnership schemes in the pipeline including at St John’s in Birchgrove, Swansea and St Mary’s in Pontllanfraith, Caerphilly.